"woodrock" as bio media - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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"woodrock" as bio media

I've got a bunch of empty tanks and filters laying around and finally decided its time to start a fishroom of sorts.

I'm trying not to break the bank on this and figured I'm not going to go out and buy brand name biomedia for the various filters. So I figured I'd try some red lava rock in my HOB and canister filters. I know I saw Home Depot had some out in the landscaping section in the past. But, turns out they consider that a seasonal item and dont carry it in the winter.

So I started calling stone/mason supply yards and one nearby said they had what I was looking for. Once I got over there they were showing me something that looked nothing like red lava rock. The stuff they had was really dense stone and it didnt appear to have any surface area other than what could be seen.

We eventually came to what they called "woodrock" and I bought 50 lbs for $5 (along with about 100 pounds of natural gravel for $10). The "woodrock" looks to be very porous but doesn't look like lava rock necessarily. I cant find anything about it and am now questioning if its safe to use as bio media. The stone yard couldnt explain if its petrified wood and claimed it "sort of turns into carbon". I decided it was worth the risk to buy some and see if I can learn anything else about this stuff. Anyone ever hear of it or know anything about it?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 10:01 PM
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If the people selling it can't tell you much at all about it, I'd ask where they got it and see if you can get answers from their supplier.

Honestly, you could use things like plastic pot scrubbers from the $ store. There's lots of cheap substitutes before using something from a masonry supply yard that can't even tell you what it is.

Since you already bought it, the best I can suggest is to try and cycle a tank with it in a filter, test the heck out of it and see how some feeders do. But even if it looks / acts OK, you won't know how it will react / perform over time and at different Ph levels.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 10:13 PM
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Can you take a couple of pieces, put them on a sheet of paper, take a pic, and post it?

Stone supply places use all kinds of names for things, that rarely have any bearing on the actual mineral content of the rock...
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-06-2015, 11:06 PM
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If you really want find out the name and properties of the rock (if noone here can help) i would post some pictures on https://www.reddit.com/r/whatsthisrock
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Got a couple of shots. Let me know if anyone can shed any light on this!





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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone have a guess?

I think I need to take some better photos as in person the rock looks much more similar to lava rock with lots of little holes and crevices.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 05:00 PM
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Conglomerate??
Link to a site:
http://geology.com/rocks/conglomerate.shtml
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lksdrinker View Post
Anyone have a guess?

I think I need to take some better photos as in person the rock looks much more similar to lava rock with lots of little holes and crevices.
Remember those holes and crevices need to work through to he core of the rock, not just at the surface. Take a piece of lava rock of similar size and get a sense of the difference in weight.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 05:16 PM
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I can't get past the "rust" color.
Have you tested them?

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Conglomerate??
Link to a site:
http://geology.com/rocks/conglomerate.shtml
If anything it seems most similar to the Martian conglomerate on that site!

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Remember those holes and crevices need to work through to he core of the rock, not just at the surface. Take a piece of lava rock of similar size and get a sense of the difference in weight.
Goo to know; I'll do just that.

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I can't get past the "rust" color.
Have you tested them?
There is a bit of a rust color; but most is from some surface dirt. The color of the rocks themselves are varied and not too uniform. I'll try to get some better pictures later.

I have not done any testing. The only thing I can think of is to toss some in a bucket with some water and continue to measure the PH. Is there any other way of testing?

The closest thing I can compare this "woodrock" to is probaby the "biOrb Ceramic Media" as seen in the photo below that I snagged from amazon.


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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 06:23 PM
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Use pH reagent to test. A couple drops on one spot of each rock.
If it fizzes then NO good.
Pretty sure there are other test?
Hope someone else offers up.

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Coralbandit View Post
Use pH reagent to test. A couple drops on one spot of each rock.
If it fizzes then NO good.
Pretty sure there are other test?
Hope someone else offers up.
You mean the liquid from the API test? does it matter whether i use the high range or regular?
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 07:15 PM
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Ok I backed checked and found API nitrate test solution (Bottle#1) should be used.
It will show if the rock will effect/affect your pH.
Many also use vinegar but often it is not accurate enough.
These test only pertain to whether the rock will change your pH.
Doesn't really deal with heavy metals which require "more scientific" test.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=145075

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coralbandit View Post
Ok I backed checked and found API nitrate test solution (Bottle#1) should be used.
It will show if the rock will effect/affect your pH.
Many also use vinegar but often it is not accurate enough.
These test only pertain to whether the rock will change your pH.
Doesn't really deal with heavy metals which require "more scientific" test.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=145075
Pretty much any reasonably strong acid should do the trick...

The API nitrate test solution 1 works because it contains hydrochloric acid (among other things).

Another option: CLR or other acidic lime-scale remover from the hardware store. Just be careful with these strong acids... those warning labels are there for a reason.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 09:34 PM
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But then there is a problem with using that test on some rocks.
If it is conglomerate, it is made up of many types of rock mixed, melted and reformed together. So you can drop the acid on one spot and get a different answer from another spot nest to it. I favor the test Diana suggest. Put the rocks in a container and check the readings over a few days or a week. That way you are testing the entire rock rather than just one stop on the surface.
The color may not mean much as it can be color picked up from clay like found in Georgia or around the Red River between Oklahoma and Texas. Don't soak it in acid if you like the colors!!!
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